Coun­cil­lors al­lege anti-Semitism and bul­ly­ing in party

The Peterborough Evening Telegraph - - YOUR TELEGRAPH - By Joel Lamy Twit­ter: @PTJoelLamy

Two Labour city coun­cil­lors have dra­mat­i­cally re­signed af­ter al­leg­ing they were bul­lied for speak­ing out against an­ti­Semitism in the party - and be­cause of poor be­hav­iour by mem­bers dur­ing meet­ings.

Deputy leader of the Labour group on Peter­bor­ough City Coun­cil Cllr Richard Fer­ris, and East ward mem­ber Cllr Matthew Ma­habadi, said they were pres­sured into keep­ing quiet over what they al­lege is anti-Semitism in the Peter­bor­ough Labour Party, and that the on­line back­lash against them made them fear for their fam­i­lies’ safety.

The pair high­lighted the se­lec­tion of Alan Bull for this year’s lo­cal elec­tions af­ter he shared an ar­ti­cle which sug­gested the Holo­caust was a hoax. Mr Bull said this was to find out his friends’ views on the ar­ti­cle, and that he had never de­nied the Holo­caust.

A Labour spokesper­son said: “The Labour Party takes all com­plaints ex­tremely se­ri­ously, which are fully in­ves­ti­gated in line with our rules and pro­ce­dures. We are tak­ing ac­tion against an­ti­Semitism, stand­ing in sol­i­dar­ity with Jewish com­mu­ni­ties, and re­build­ing trust.”

Cllr Ma­habadi has not re­signed from the party. Cllr Fer­ris, mem­ber for Park ward, has not said if he has re­signed.

In their state­ment they also crit­i­cised the coun­cil’s Con­ser­va­tive cab­i­net over the sup­port given to home­less fam­i­lies liv­ing at St Michael’s Gate in Parn­well.

They said: “It is to the ev­er­last­ing shame of this Tory ad­min­is­tra­tion that it took un­wanted pres­sure from the Peter­bor­ough Tele­graph to force them to fix the heat­ing and roofs of these res­i­dents.”

They added: “(The cab­i­net’s) hubris and child­ish­ness is to blame for a cul­ture of dis­re­spect and play­ground pet­ti­ness that in­hab­its the Coun­cil Cham­ber and so­cial me­dia.”

Coun­cil leader Cllr John Holdich said: “My view is that the two are vic­tims of weak in­ex­pe­ri­enced lead­er­ship lo­cally.”

He added: “St Michael’s Gate has housed ap­prox­i­mately 250 peo­ple, of which 169 have been per­ma­nently re-housed - all of these could have eas­ily needed to go into bed and break­fast, at cost to the city and its tax­pay­ers.”

Richard Fer­ris and Matthew Ma­habadi

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